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The Burglar on the Prowl (Bernie Rhodenbarr Series #10)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2004

    A beer and a Block and you're in for a treat

    Lawrence Block¿s tenth entry in his mystery series featuring beguiling burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr has hit the fields of play with a wallop. The first paragraph of BURGLAR ON THE PROWL ends with the frustrated explosion, ¿Words fail me,¿ when Marty Gilmartin, a larcenous man himself, has come to ask of Bernie a favor only a burglar¿s skill can effect. Gilmartin tries to describe his foe, a cad named Mapes who has stolen from him his paramour. Between Bernie and Gilmartin there ensues a lively discussion of apt epithets, deserving obscenities, supple nouns and adjectives, and paper, ink, cloth, and glue, the hard stuff of which supplies Bernie Rhodenbarr¿s day job as legitimate businessman, the proprietor of a used book store. Burgling is only a hobby. Or, should we say, an obsession, in the most agonizing sense. For, Bernie cannot help himself. ¿On the prowl,¿ he says: a phrase ¿deliciously attractive in an unwholesome way.¿ In this book as never before, Bernie informs us of the joys, and the nonsense, of the drive to steal, the thrilling bad-boyness of it, the irresistibility of living on the teetery edge in the full knowledge of terrifying potential consequences. In a book with Bernie as the narrator, you know words will never fail. This, while you sink into a world where crimes go down, thugs threaten, and bodies, alas, collect. After the visit by Gilmartin, Bernie tells his sounding-board lesbian neighbor Carolyn Kaiser about Gilmartin¿s desire to get back at Mapes by lifting laundered cash from a wall safe. Carolyn of course admonishes Bernie against risky behavior. Still, old friends help old friends. She accompanies him on a reconnaissance mission to Mapes¿ home. As it turns out, the moment is not right for a break-in. The two must wait for another day ¿ or night, as it were. But now Bernie is restless. The bloom from Gilmartin¿s exciting charge has ignited the fuse of that calling from which Bernie is powerless to shrink. He slips out one evening and, after a few false starts to test his skills, enters an apartment belonging to a woman who comes home apparently drunk, escorted by a man with a deep voice. Trapped, Bernie slides, with difficulty, under the bed, a cliché of an action, a ridiculous fate for a practiced burglar. While silently berating himself, before long he realizes the woman has been drugged and is becoming a victim of date-rape. Wedged in as he is, he imagines several action scenarios. What Bernie does or does not do after that is one of the nervy flourishes author Block seems more and more willing to dangle before us in recent works. Series books, those with a run of familiar characters, sometimes risk a hazardous course: the danger of sameness. Not under Block¿s able swing. He is testing, testing ¿. And he is unapologetic about some of his conclusions, unpopular though they may prove to be. This series, the burglar series, is the more lighthearted of the author¿s work. ON THE PROWL is faithful to that premise. Yet, as Bernie Rhodenbarr entertains us by pondering the puzzles and profundities of words, their origins and ambiguities, their richness and insufficiencies, he equally mulls over the meanings of life and the whys of inner drives, and sometimes the mirror shines too brightly. Sitting down with a Block book is an adventure of wry wit and understated surprise. It is the pleasant anticipation of overheard conversation so smooth that in retrospect you might easily believe you actually heard it. You wait for the precise bon mot for which Bernie Rhodenbarr, lover of language, titan of trivia, guide to painless historical and literary allusions, is justifiably revered. In the now-and-then references to his past, Bernie, the inveterate book lover, even helps us out by footnoting which other book in the canon holds a particular incident in his ¿backstory,¿ as novelists would call it. But if Lawrence Block loves word

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2004

    A New Block Fan!

    This was my first ever Lawrence Block book and it certainly wont be the last! Its was fun, funny and easy to read. I loved the cast of charactors and Bernie would now be my favourite hero ! Cant wait to get my hands on more of this series!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2004

    Great Lawrence Block Burglar Book!!

    Lawrence Block at his finest. A wonderful Bernie Rhodenbarr book! What a great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2004

    GREAT COP STORY!

    Block keep's getting better and better! I really liked the 'realness' of these characters!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2004

    Now THIS is more like it!

    If you are a Bernie fan, run out and grab one of these books today and you will feel like you did when you discovered your first Bernie novel, it is that good. Not to be overly critical of that last Bernie book, but it cannot hold a literary candle to The Burglar on the Prowl. This is what a Bernie book should be...it was a sheer pleasure to read. The wit is back Mr. Block. Stay off the cruise ships when you write and go to Ragsdale and repeat this process again and again. It has produced a winner! I laughed aloud at least 5 times by the beginning of Chapter 4! The wit of Bernie and Carolyn combined with all the wonderful metaphors, word plays, and well-researched literary (and other) references plus the tie-in to the earlier 'Ted Williams' book made this new read seem like an old friend right from the start. Welcome back Bernie! Welcome back Lawrence Block! Well done!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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